This report summarizes the 2-day Workshop on Human-Automation Interaction Considerations for Unmanned Aerial System Integration held in Washington, D.C., in January 2018. There were approximately 75 participants at the workshop (see Appendix A), and many more listened or watched the live Webcast. Toby Warden, director of the Board on Human-Systems Integration (BOHSI) of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, opened the meeting. She welcomed the attendees and explained that the workshop is sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and that BOHSI consulted with the National Academies’ Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board (ASEB) to form the steering committee to plan the workshop.
The steering committee’s role was limited to planning and convening the meeting. The views contained in this report are those of individual participants and do not necessarily represent the views of all participants, the steering committee, or the National Academies. The rapporteur prepared this document.
Nancy Tippins (steering committee chair) continued Warden’s background information with the statement of task for the workshop:
An ad hoc steering committee will plan and conduct a 2-day workshop aimed at advancing the understanding of the human-factors/human-systems integration issues associated with the full integration of Unmanned Aerial Systems(UASs) into the National Airspace System (NAS). The focus will be on human interaction considerations relevant to the design and operations of UAS technology, particularly within the context of implementing automation capabilities within ground-control stations (GCSs). The workshop will highlight existing human factors and human-systems integration research while identifying opportunities to address gaps and opportunities in research, application, and implementation. The committee will define the specific topics to be addressed, develop the agenda, and select and invite speakers and other participants. After the workshop, proceedings of a workshop of the presentations and discussions at the workshop will be prepared by a designated rapporteur and published following the National Academies’ policies and procedures for such publications, including the standard review procedures.
To design the workshop in response to the statement of task, the steering committee began by using a set of questions that were developed by the BOHSI and ASEB staff and the sponsor, NASA, to better hone the areas to explore for the workshop. From these questions and topics, the steering committee developed the agenda (see Appendix B), using their expertise and the availability of potential panelists and presenters. The organization of this proceedings document follows that agenda.
Nancy Tippins welcomed the sponsor’s representative, Jay Shively, NASA’s detect and avoid subproject manager. He set out the workshop goals from NASA’s perspective: (1) identify human-automation issues—current and future, (2) identify research to address the issues, and (3) make and solidify connections. Figure 1-1 depicts the operational environments, current and proposed, that he discussed in terms of altitudes, manned aerial vehicles, UASs (which are remotely controlled from ground stations), various communications links, and various research tasks. Shively also described the changing role of humans as automation increases, and he presented a slide showing the concept of unmanned traffic management at low altitudes to avoid collisions of numerous UASs: see Figure 1-2.
Notably, he emphasized the increasing concern with the need for human intervention in automated systems during problem scenarios, calling the rush to “automate everything we can” a “potentially troubling trend” and “not necessarily a great design plan.” At the end of his presentation, he listed a range of issues, including those of single aircraft (e.g., automated collision avoidance and “last-50-feet” problem) and general issues, such as calibrated trust and transparency, human-agent communications and interaction, and collaboration.
During the morning presentations, noting time constraints, Tippins asked that participants save their important questions for the time reserved for discussion on the following day. Also, in response to some of the questions being raised, she advised the participants that representatives of the various agencies were not here to answer questions on or to state official policies; rather, they were here to participate in open discussions and develop better understandings of the wide range of issues about UASs.
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